Just a week after Felicity Huffman’s guilty plea in the college admissions scandal that broke last month, Lori Loughlin has entered a plea of not guilty, according to a New York Times examination of her court documents. Four other parents followed suit, according to the Times. This, as well as her previous refusal to accept a plea deal for the lesser charges that had already been filed against her, sets her up for a maximum of 40 years of prison time—though, as People points out, it’s not likely she would serve the maximum time.
As a refresher: Loughlin and her husband, the designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, admitted to the University of Southern California as crew recruits, Isabella as a coxswain. (Neither teen actually rows.) Last week, after Huffman and a contingent of other parents allegedly involved in the scheme submitted their guilty pleas, prosecutors filed additional money laundering charges against Loughlin and 16 other parents. (Loughlin, like Huffman, was already facing charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.)
Though Huffman and Loughlin quickly emerged as the most visible faces of the scandal and were, as a result, lumped together in coverage of Operation Varsity Blues, as it’s been termed, their trajectories have since diverged. Their level of involvement in the admissions plot differed—Huffman has been accused of spending $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT scores, a paltry sum compared with the $500,000 that Loughlin and Giannulli allegedly forked out. Huffman’s husband, William H. Macy, was allegedly aware of what was going on, but was not charged; as the Times pointed out in a separate story, Huffman’s first statement following the scandal was contrite and subdued, while Loughlin has appeared smiling and signing autographs prior to court appearances.
A source told E! News last week that Loughlin is “freaking out” about potential jail time and “refused to accept any,” leading to her previous rejection of a plea deal. “She has been in complete denial and thought maybe she could skate by,” the source went on. “Lori is finally realizing just how serious this is.” Olivia Jade, meanwhile, appears to be not especially bothered.